Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Spring salmon fishing continues to thrive

Spring Salmon fishing on the Miramichi is going very strong for the 3rd week of the season. Fisherman on the upper and lower stretches of the South West Miramichi River are saying conditions are very good and the river is very clear with fish hitting there flies.

Laura gently removing the hook from the grilse to release it.

My daughter Laura Colford (11) with her first of the season.

Over the weekend conditions were not very good as the river raised and got very dirty and fish were almost impossible to hook. But as the water dropped the fish started taking again and jumping more.

On the lower stretches in Quarryville George Routledge of Georges Fly Shop said most anglers were hooking there fish below the bridge. He said the smelts were in for a few days and fishermen were catching a few trout.

Laura with a nice grilse and 1 of four she landed. Mike Levine landed close to his limit fishing with Laura.

Laura showing off her Valentine Reel!

Fishermen Brad Ronco was fishing on the Main Southwest below the Renous on Saturday and said fishing was next to impossible due to the amount of grass and other debris in the water. On the other hand on Thursday and Friday, he hooked 18 and landed his limit. The largest being 2 salmon in the 32-33 inch range. Great fun inspite of Saturday!

A little further up at Miramichi Renous Club Cindy Underhill said fisherman were doing well and out of 5 fishermen on Tuesday they landed 25 fish. Boyd Underhill and the lady he was guiding landed 7 on Tuesday out of the 25 landed. One fish at the club was 40 inches, and they were seeing some trout around and most being hooked in the fast water. Flies of choice were Blue Smelts but the fish seemed to take just about anything they threw at them Boyd Said.

This is Charlie Foster from Lowell, MA-US.

Country Haven Lodge said fishing was good up until the weekend and picked up again on Monday. A few fishermen limited out on Monday and a few were catching some big fish. Guides Kenny and Jeremy Vickers were hooking a few big trout in the 2 to 5 pound range but would not tell their secret pool where they hooked them. Also a fisherman from Maine named Oscar who has been coming to the Miramichi since 1963 at different sporting camps and now at Country Haven for 7 years landed 6 salmon on Tuesday. Flies were Grey Ghost and Maggot Smelt for the lodge.

Up near Keenan’s settlement Alley Keenan and his granddaughter Reese hooked her first Salmon.

Alley told her to throw it back and she threw it right back in the boat he said. They also hooked a few more fish and saw many.

Up near the Mouth of Cain’s River area we were still hooking several fish and seeing many jumping all over the river both near shore and in the middle. I was hooking most of my big fish in the middle of the river and the grilse were hitting close to shore. The biggest I had was 41 inches and a few others 37 and 39 inchers. Flies I was using was a Christmas tree number 3/0.

Last week I landed a 42 incher and she had some eggs coming out of her vent. Mark Hambrook of the Miramichi Salmon Association said that this is normal. When salmon spawn, they don't get rid of all their eggs. Usually a few dozen remain and they eventually shrink into what looks like a dried-out kernel of corn.

When we spawn large salmon in the fall, we can tell if it spawned before because there is always "corn" in with the eggs. In the spring of the year, if you squeeze the belly of a female salmon, you will generally get a few old eggs out the vent. In the picture, the eggs are over ripe and near ready to rupture at which time the liquid will be absorbed into the body and the shell remains and becomes "corn". Thanks Mark for the great information.

In the Doaktown area at O’Donnell’s Cottages Valerie O’Donnell said fishing was still very good and water was still going down and very clear. Some of her guest hooked fish on Monday and Tuesday on a few different flies like an Orange Marabou, Black Ghost and Mickey Finn and were using sink tip lines.

Wilsons Sporting Camps above Doaktown said the bigger salmon are jumping this week. And they are seeing them on the heavy water edges and taking most on a cast with heavy sink lines. The water was down to a nice level on Tuesday and cleared up very well, darker fly patterns were the answer for them.

On the North West Miramichi local guide and fisherman Kevin Gillespie said there were no smelts as of Wednesday and still a lot of salmon in the river. There were also some big trout being hooked in the 19 to 21 inch range but were not fresh trout. The river was clear and there were a few fish jumping and rolling.

Local fly shops on the Miramichi River are also getting lots of fishermen in telling there fishing lies and fish stories. Which we all love hearing about, so when your into the shops please let them know about your catch.

On the North West Miramichi River, drop into Trout Brook Fly Shop and talk to Sydney Matchett about the fishing. On the Renous and Quarryville stretch of the Main South West Miramichi River George is always around at Georges Fly Shop. In Miramichi city area check out Miramichi Fishing and Hunting Supplies and Jim is always there to help you out. Miramichi City Surplus on the old highway just above the enclosure has a great supply of fly fishing gear available.

This is Tony Lloyd with a nice salmon on the Miramichi.

Curtis Miramichi River Outfitters in Blackville said fishing is pretty good this week and to drop in anytime for a say and to check out their gear. Herb Barry just out past the Blackville Irving has lots of flies on hand and always can tell you where the fish are. Jerry Doak of W.W.Doaks in Doaktown has all the fishing gear and supplies too and also loves to hear about the fishing.

If you’re coming from Fredericton don’t forget about Chris Munn of Fredericton Outfitters and Anglers where they have a good selection of fly fishing supplies on hand. One place I always stop at when in Moncton is Lyon’s General Store where there is so much to see from hunting to fishing. They have a good selection of flies on hand too from local tiers.

Tip of the week: I expect fishing to stay pretty good unless the river rises up further than the last time. Fish close to the shore or alters in the dirty water and near the mouths of brooks, you will pick up a few, we always do. There should be soon reports of strippers being hooked and with the start of trout season on the 1st of May and the water warming up we should start to see them take a fly.

I hope this helps with your next week of fishing on the Miramichi River and tributaries and that you have a great day on the water. Please email your comments, pictures and your reports to me anytime if you like at

Until next week keep your lines tight and your reels screeching on the Miramichi.

* Rodney Colford is a third-generation salmon guide on the Miramichi River. He has been guiding fisherman for the past 28 years. His column appears every Thursday.

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